BP Q4 Profit Rises, Dividend Partially Restored

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BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, reported a fourth-quarter profit of $5.6 billion, compared with $4.3 billion a year earlier, but that was not enough to prevent the company from posting a full-year loss, its first in 20 years, of $3.7 billion. That compares with a 2009 profit of $16.6 billion.

BP (BP) also announced it will partially restore its dividend, which was suspended for the first three quarters of 2010 following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company said it will pay a fourth-quarter dividend of seven cents a share, which is inline with what analysts were expecting. BP paid 14 cents a share prior to the spill. Each BP American depositary receipt equals six of the London-listed shares.

Following substantial asset sales which saw the company raise $22 billion after the spill, BP's fourth-quarter production dipped 9.4% to 3.673 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the fourth quarter. BP said it expects an even deeper fall in production in 2011 to 3.4 million barrels of oil, 11.5% below the 2010 average and 15% below the 2009 average, according to the Wall Street Journal.

BP could miss out on 80,000 barrels per day in production this year in the Gulf as the company struggles to meet the more stringent safety regulations set forth by the U.S. government. The company raised its estimate for spill-related costs to $40.9 billion from $39.9 billion.

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